A voiceless alveolar affricate is a type of affricate consonant pronounced with the tip or blade of the tongue against the alveolar ridge (gum line) just behind the teeth. This refers to a class of sounds, not a single sound. There are several types with significant perceptual differences:
This article discusses the first two.
Voiceless alveolar sibilant affricate
The voiceless alveolar sibilant affricate is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The sound is transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet with ⟨t͡s⟩ or ⟨t͜s⟩ (formerly with ⟨ʦ⟩ or ⟨ƾ⟩). The voiceless alveolar affricate occurs in many Indo-European languages, such as German, Kashmiri, Marathi,
Pashto, Russian and most other Slavic languages such as Polish and Serbo-Croatian; also, among many others, in Georgian, in Japanese, in Mandarin Chinese, and in Cantonese. Some international auxiliary languages, such as Esperanto, Ido and Interlingua also include this sound.
Features of the voiceless alveolar sibilant affricate:
- Its manner of articulation is sibilant affricate, which means it is produced by first stopping the air flow entirely, then directing it with the tongue to the sharp edge of the teeth, causing high-frequency turbulence.
- The stop component of this affricate is laminal alveolar, which means it is articulated with the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge. For simplicity, this affricate is usually called after the sibilant fricative component.
- There are at least three specific variants of the fricative component:
- Dentalized laminal alveolar (commonly called "dental"), which means it is articulated with the tongue blade very close to the upper front teeth, with the tongue tip resting behind lower front teeth. The hissing effect in this variety of [s] is very strong.
- Non-retracted alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal.
- Retracted alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue slightly behind the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal. Acoustically, it is close to [ʃ] or laminal [ʂ].
- Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
- It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
- It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
- The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.
The following sections are named after the fricative component.
Dentalized laminal alveolar
||Corresponds to /k/ and /t͡ʃ/ in other dialects
||Corresponds to standard /t͡ʃ/
|Ḷḷena, Mieres, and others
||Alveolar realization of che vaqueira instead of normal retroflex [ʈ͡ʂ]
||The fricative component is apical. Contrasts with a laminal affricate with a dentalized fricative component.
||The fricative component is apical. See Catalan phonology
|Central Alaskan Yup'ik
||Allophone of /t͡ʃ/ before schwa
||Spelled Chamoru in the orthography used in the Northern Mariana Islands.
||The fricative component is apical. In some accents, it is realized as [tʰ]. Usually transcribed /tˢ/ or /t/. Contrasts with the unaspirated stop [t], which is usually transcribed /d̥/ or /d/. See Danish phonology
||Optional pre-pausal allophone of /t/.
||Possible word-initial, intervocalic and word-final allophone of /t/. See English phonology
||Possible syllable-initial and sometimes also utterance-final allophone of /t/. See English phonology
||Word-initial allophone of /t/. See English phonology
||Word-initial and word-final allophone of /t/; in free variation with a strongly aspirated stop [tʰ]. See English phonology
||Possible syllable-initial and word-final allophone of /t/. See English phonology
|General South African
||Possible syllable-final allophone of /t/.
||See Esperanto phonology
||Allophone of /t/ before /i, y/.
||Allophone of /t͡ʃ/.
||See Luxembourgish phonology
||Represented by /च/, which also represents [t͡ʃ]. It is not a marked difference.
||Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated versions. The unaspirated is represented by /च/. The aspirated sound is represented by /छ/. See Nepali phonology
||parte sem vida
||Allophone of /t/ before /i, ĩ/, or assimilation due to the deletion of /i ~ ɨ ~ e/. Increasingly used in Brazil.
||Marginal sound. Many Brazilians might break the affricate with epenthetic [i], often subsequently palatalizing /t/, specially in pre-tonic contexts (e.g. tsunami [tɕisuˈnɜ̃mʲi]). See Portuguese phonology
||Palatalized; with an apical fricative component. It corresponds to [t͡ʃ] in standard Spanish. See Spanish phonology
|Some Rioplatense dialects